Inverness boss Terry Butcher relishes final Europa League push

Inverness CT manager Terry Butcher

Inverness manager Terry Butcher is licking his lips at the prospect of Sunday's Scottish Premier League match against Highland rivals Ross County.

A win guarantees Inverness third place.

"You can't get any better than this, going into the final game at our greatest rivals knowing that if you win the match you're in Europe," he said.

"If we don't get into Europe, it has still been a wonderful season. If we do get there, it would be extra special, almost the perfect season."

A draw or a defeat against Derek Adams' County may hurt Butcher's pride but it may still be enough to take his team into the Europa League qualifiers in the summer.

The only team that can pip them to that is St Johnstone, who are a point behind and who host Stuart McCall's second-place Motherwell at the same time on Sunday lunchtime.

"I am sure Stuart will send up a strong side. He has already promised me that," Butcher told BBC Scotland.

And he joked: "And I am bigger than him so if he doesn't come up with the goods I will batter him.

"We have no control over that match in Perth. All we can do is try to do our job and try to do it well."

Looking forward to the match in Dingwall, Butcher added: "It will be fierce, it will be well contested, a bit of a scrap; perhaps a bit of football match might break out.

"There will be a packed house. The ground lends itself to a great atmosphere.

"They haven't beaten us this season so they will be determined to get that elusive victory and we know that a victory for ourselves will get us into Europe so it's set up really well.

"We are the best of friends away from this match but we will be the best of enemies when it comes to Sunday afternoon.

"Someone in the SPL has a perverse sense of humour when it comes to top-six fixtures."

And Butcher acknowledged what County had brought to the league in their first season in the top flight.

He said: "Celtic will probably say they have missed Rangers in the league but when it comes to the SPL we have been enhanced by having our local rivals ahead of us, level with us or just behind us, because it has forced our boys on to try to beat them and I am sure it has been the same for Ross County.

"I am confident that, with both clubs having found themselves in an excellent position this season, the foundations have been set for a good long stay in the SPL and for more Highland derbies."